Ceremonies to honor two Civil War heroes

By Doug Caruso, Daily Telegram Staff Writer

LENAWEE- It was a grave error.

When Civil War veterans Addison Hodges and Henry Nash were buried near Blissfield decades ago, their headstones bore no indication that they had each won the Medal of Honor.  But on Memorial Day that error will be corrected, largely due to the efforts of two local Civil War buffs whose research and bureaucratic arm-twisting got markers for the heroes' graves.  Gary Holmes was the researcher and Bill Lentz was the arm-twister.  Monday the Blissfield men will see special honor flags placed at Hodges' and Nash's graves in separate ceremonies at Ogden Township's Zion Cemetery and in Palmyra Cemetery. 

“The reason we went after this was because they were awarded our country's highest honor," said Lentz, a retired Marine major.  "Anyone who received the Medal of Honor should have been recognized at the time of burial.

Hodges and Nash volunteered with seven other Michigan soldiers to crew a boat and two supply barges past heavy Confederate artillery fire at the battle of Vicksburg in 1863, according to War Department records Holmes found.  They had almost gotten past the city when their tug boat took a direct hit from a cannon shot that killed the captain and set the boat on fire,  The men were forced to swim to shore where they were captured and later traded for Confederate prisoners.  Even though they did not complete their mission, the soldiers were found deserving of the medal because of their bravery in volunteering for dangerous duty.  Records say that Hodges might have even paid another soldier a dollar so he could go on the mission.

The flags honoring Hodges and Nash's bravery are just part of the decorations that should be on the graves, Lentz said.  He said he hopes the Department of the Army will come through with special plaques for the men's gravestones by Monday.

The ceremony for Nash will be held in Palmyra's Cemetery following Palmyra's Memorial Day Parade which begins at 9 a.m.  Hodges' ceremony will be held at about noon in Zion Cemetery following the Blissfield Memorial Day Parade.

Lentz said that Hodges descendants will be on hand for the Zion ceremony and that representatives from two Civil War historical organizations will be on hand at both graves.  The national secretary of the Sons of Civil War Veterans will be at the ceremonies in a full period uniform and members of the Civil War Round Table will also attend.

Reprinted with permission from the Daily Telegram, article appeared on May 24, 1992